This Week in Logistics News (September 3-7, 2012)

Are you up yet?! What do you want for breakfast? Look in the other drawer. Don’t forget your lunch in the fridge. Why is this binder on the floor? I have no idea where your other sneaker is, just look for it! Did you brush your teeth? If we don’t leave in one minute we’re going to be late!

Yes, school is back in session, and so is the morning chaos of getting four kids out the door. But as strange as it might seem, I love every minute of it, especially the kisses and hugs, and the “I love you” and “Have a great day” as they race inside.

Now, this week’s news…

One of the primary ways 3PLs look to drive growth is by expanding their international presence, which is the main driving force behind CH Robinson’s acquisition of Apreo Logistics S.A., a leading freight forwarder based in Warsaw, Poland. Apreo provides truckload services, including dry van and temperature controlled and liquid and dry bulk capabilities, as well as warehouse, air and ocean services. Here are some excerpts from the press release:

Apreo has shown significant growth over the past several years, with current gross revenues over $100 million while servicing more than 2,000 customers. The company has over 300 employees in 21 offices in Poland and one office in Germany.


“This acquisition expands C.H. Robinson’s presence in Europe and supports our goals to strengthen our capabilities in our core business and further diversify our modal offering, both of which benefit our European and global customer base,” said Bryan Foe, president of C.H. Robinson Europe.

Earlier this week I asked how 3PLs can enhance their value proposition to clients beyond meeting their cost and service level commitments. Being able to serve the needs of their clients across multiple geographic regions is certainly on the list.

Descartes reported strong Q2FY13 results this week. Revenues increased 6 percent compared to a year ago to $30.5 million, and net income was $2.5 million, slightly down from Q1FY13 and Q2FY12. For the first six months of the fiscal year, revenues are up 8 percent and net income is up 6 percent.

Overall, the supply chain and logistics software industry has performed very well this year despite the choppy economic waters we’re in. On the other hand, FedEx and UPS continue to raise warning flags. FedEx lowered its outlook for the rest of the year, citing concerns about declining manufacturing activity, particularly in China. The HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 47.6 in August, the lowest level since March 2009. Here are some excerpts from the WSJ article about FedEx:

The International Air Transport Association last week said members saw no signs of improvement in the global air freight market.


Global air freight volume fell 3.2% in July from a year earlier, and was up just 0.1% from the prior month in what the industry trade group said was a sign that the minor recovery in cargo seen earlier in the year had “stagnated.”


FedEx said a weak global economy constrained growth at its Express business—the company’s largest division and the one that handles international parcels—more than it had anticipated.

I don’t know about you, but the global economy has gotten so complex, with so many mixed signals, I have a hard time determining which direction the wind is really blowing.

As the clock ticks toward September 30th, when port workers have threatened to strike, the ILA and USMX are back at the negotiation table, this time joined by the United States Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). I’m not sure why they’re waiting until September 17 to resume talks instead of starting next week, but let’s hope the FMCS can work some magic and help the two sides reach an agreement.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple “has recently shifted some memory-chip orders for its coming iPhone from Samsung Electronics to other Asian chip makers, people familiar with the matter said Friday, suggesting that the U.S. company is diversifying its component suppliers as patent disputes between the two technology giants escalate.” While I’m sure the patent battle is a contributing factor in this decision, diversifying your supply base is also a basic supply chain risk management strategy. You never want to put all of your chips (pun intended) in one place, especially when those chips are critical components of your most profitable products.

That’s all for this week. And now I have to put on some music — it’s too darn quiet in this house!

Have a great weekend!

Song of the Week: “Too Fake” by Hockey.

(Note: CH Robinson and Descartes are ARC clients and Logistics Viewpoints sponsors)

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